Getting Girls Together on Mountain Bikes 

By Amika Taniguchi 

Cover photo courtesy of Lara Gricar

The GRiT (Girls Riding Together) initiative is NICA’s (National Interscholastic Cycling Association) effort to recruit and retain more girls to mountain biking. The first nationwide program of its kind, GRiT focuses intentional effort on creating an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere for girls, who are underrepresented in the sport. Local NICA team, the Spokane Composite Mountain Bike Team called the “Bombers,” is looking to recruit more female riders this season through GRiT. Girls grades 5-11 can give the group a try with a leisurely ride on May 11 at Spokane’s Beacon Hill trail system.   

According to NICA, girls’ self-confidence plummets 30% from ages 12-14, in stark contrast to boys, whose self-confidence remains largely unchanged through puberty. By age 14, 45% of girls say that they are afraid to try something where they may fail. Sports can fill this confidence gap. Charlie Bailey, a local youth mountain biker, likes that “GRiT allows participants to connect with other girls in the area who are on different teams. You can meet new friends and help other girls pursue mountain biking.” Through GRiT, we are committed to creating a safe space for girls to engage, build confidence, find belonging and thrive as members of a vibrant cycling community.  

Courtesy of Lara Gricar

GRiT is about breaking barriers and redefining norms. Gender-related challenges are still one of the biggest reasons that girls drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys by age 14. GRiT empowers girls to challenge stereotypes, redefine what it means to be a female athlete, and push their own personal limits. Ella Olson, another local youth mountain biker, reports, “Riding with girls who want to ride is just awesome. Sometimes we underestimate ourselves, but the girls bring up our spirits.”  

Mountain biking in a group fosters a sense of community and connection. It allows girls to meet like-minded individuals, join group rides and events, and become part of a community. Riding bikes together is a way to connect, empower, and inspire each other, while enjoying the many physical, mental, and social benefits that cycling has to offer. So, grab your bike, gather your friends, and hit the trails with NICA for an unforgettable experience this season!  

RSVP for the May 11 ride by emailing Girls should bring a mountain bike, helmet and water bottle. For more information about the group, visit The Bombers take riders of all levels, as long as they know how to ride a bike and have fun doing so. 

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